On Friday, November 13, the former Cryer & Sons Boatyard building burst into flames, destroying “all but two corners” of the city-owned wooden building, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“A large amount of runoff and debris flowed into the Estuary,” the Chronicle added, “forcing firefighters to temporarily turn off their hoses while booms were installed to protect the Estuary and Bay. Once the booms were in place, crews resumed pouring water on the fire.”
Closed in 1989, the Cryer & Sons Boatyard came under the ownership of the Port of Oakland, which leased it to the City. Sitting at the end of Union Point Park, near Coast Guard Island and on the Oakland Estuary, the wooden boatyard building had been used for storage, but has been empty since August. The building was immediately adjacent to a sprawling homeless encampment that has taken over the shoreside Union Point Park for the last five-plus years.
“It was boarded up, red-tagged — declared unsafe for use — and encircled with fencing,” the Chronicle said of the wooden building. Despite continued efforts to keep people out, the Oakland Fire Department said that squatters occasionally camped inside the building. “The cause of the fire is under investigation ‘but it’s believed it potentially was caused by squatters,'” OFD told the Chronicle.
As we reported in November’s Sightings, the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, or BCDC, issued a cease and desist order to the City of Oakland requiring the removal of homeless encampments from Union Point Park. The park had been set to be partially cleared by November 15, with the remaining encampment removed by February 12.